Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Moon Over Soho

When you have a detective novel that has magical elements, you have so many options for wiener jokes. I mean, expandable batons, magic wands, wizard's staff...the list goes on and on.  Moon Over Soho is Ben Aaronovitch's novel about a young London policeman who has some magical powers and this book has plenty of jokes.  Some of his jokes fall on deaf ears because I have no idea what he is talking about. While we speak the same language, let's face it, British slang is different.  If we would ask an American and Brit to point to their respective "fannies"....well, you would get different results.  Very different results. One might punch you in the face. 

Moon over Soho is a sequel to Midnight Riot, the first in the Peter Grant series (I don't think Peter is slang for a wiener in Britain--but introduce yourself as Randy and you will get giggles--it's so complicated) .  If you want to read this book, you need to read the first in the series, because it picks right back up with the original plot.  It has some geeky references too (I don't get all of those either). Ben Aaronovitch used to write for Dr. Who.  If that's not geek cred I don't know what is. This is light.  This has none of gravitas of The Goldfinch  (thank God).  Oddly, both books have Harry Potter references.  One cannot avoid Harry Potter

I remember recommending the first book to some of my Anglophile friends and they liked it.  If you are not an Anglophile, don't like mysteries, or fantasy, then skip it.  I liked the first one just enough to give this a try and I needed a break from that damn Goldfinch. I needed a therapy session after that book. I liked this one just enough to likely read the third.  They go fast, its not a steak dinner, it's more like eating a wiener. Yeah, I went there.

Drinks: Drink this with a pint of bitter, just like Peter's wizard boss.  What is that?  It's just the British term for a pale ale (I know it's exhausting)  Now, there are IPA's and pale ales.  Pale ale's have less alcohol and are much less hoppy than India Pale Ales.  British bitters tend to be malty and you can get something called an American Pale Ale, which is more hoppy.  (Again, exhausting.) Pale ales are perfect for summer and taste great with food, especially if you don't like lagers (blech).  I like Bell's Pale Ale, which is not properly British. I've heard that Three Floyd's makes an amazing pale ale called Alpha King (sounds both redundant and boastful).  I'm ready this summer to do some more research for you to see if it lives up to its name.    

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Goldfinch

Donna Tartt only publishes a book every ten years.  When they come out, the publishing world goes ape-crap.  Apparently she spends the ten years between publishing books...writing...in longhand.  I think if she learned to type she could spend 2 years writing and the other 8 playing Bejeweled Blitz. (Donna, if you want to score over 350,000 points you're going to need a special gem.) Also, she must be very disciplined to make her paychecks last every ten years.  Stephen King must spend money like a baller buyin' Crystal in da club.

Anyway, this book was very hyped and it is good, but I didn't love it. Without spoilers, it's a big book (nearly 800 pages), and not, say, a light summertime read.  It is a coming of age novel about a teenager and his young adult years. Some of the people in this book are real turds. Tartt does a great job of making up fake rich people names including "Platt" and "Kitsey."  She went to Middlebury, so she would know. 

Anyway, our protagonist, Theo, goes through quite a bit of adversity and drama.  It is full of some life lessons, none of which apply to me as I am not rich, a recreational drug user, nor have I been heavily concussed. Of those three, the concussion is the most I can ever hope for.  It also does that weird thing that some books do and spends the last ten pages telling you the book's meaning.  I'm like, lady if I haven't learned its meaning after 770 pages well…I mean, YOU HAD YOUR CHANCE.  Other cons: It is lacking wizards, dragons and humor.  Pros: there are a few Harry Potter references.  I'm pretty sure those HP references are why she won the Pulitzer. It is possible she won it because she is a very good writer.  We will never know for sure.  

Some of the book is set in Amsterdam. Also, you should drink this with a yellow (goldfinch colored) pretty light cocktail.  This one seems perfect for summer: Dutch Lemonade: 1 & 1/2 ounces of citrus flavored vodka, 3 ounces fresh lemonade.  Add ice to a rocks glass, add the citrus vodka and lemonade and stir gently.  Garnish with a lemon twist.